29 FEBRUARY 1840, Page 13


Amount' Manchester has taken the le:el, London ought to be the head-quarters of the Anti-Corn-law As mciation. The cause being national, not provincial or sectional, the city in which the great council of the nation sits is the natural centre of action. The present opponents of Corn-laws seek to gain their object by consti- tutional and peaceable means. The change they desire to effect must be accompli,:hed by influencing the Legislature. Members of Parliament, like other persons,

" Are strongly acted on by what is nearest ;"

and a vigilant Committee meeting in Palace Yard or the Strand, representing the mercantile and monied interests of the Metropolis as well as of the provincial sea-ports and manufacturing districts, will necessarily have more weight than any delegation from the country which should not include the metropolis of the empire. It was Sir RonERT WasaosE, we think, who declared that an Eng- lish Minister could encounter no foe so formidable as the monied interest ; which might be offended, but never could be vanquished. The focus of the monied interest is in London. The State has again become a borrower ; and the time may be near when its neces- sities shall compel the Government to pay more deference to the desires and movements of capitalists, than they have done since the days of war-loans and contracts. Indications that the capitalists and bankers of the Metropolis have at length awakened to the injurious operation of the Corn-lawn on the money-market, are visible in various quarters. Read the City articles of our daily papers, of all polities. The foreign exchanges decline—the instant conclusion is that orders have been sent abroad for corn ; the Bank curtails its discounts—nobody is at a loss for time reason, large drafts are expected from wheat-shipping ports; foreign loans are bugbears to the Bank—all its bullion may be wanted next year for corn. Lord MONTEAGLE may be said to have taken leave of office with a solemn warning to his successor, that he must expect the continual recurrence of embarrassments, confounding his best-considered mea- acres of finance, as often as scanty harvests produce drains of bullion. We have since seen Mr. HORSLEY PALMER taking the lead at an Anti- Corn-law meeting, and there is no doubt of the general conviction of the monied interest that the existing Corn-laws must be altered. The difficulty is to stimulate me n with aristocratic connexions, or who aim at alliances with the aristocracy, to earnest exertion. Thoroughly roused, the capitalists of the Metropolis, backed by the Bank of England, might even in the present session obtain a repeal of the Corn-laws. Notwithstanding the majority in both Houses is composed of Mem- bers having, as they imagine, a direct personal interest in maintaining corn at a high price, a combined pressure upon the Government from the bankers and merchants would be irresistible. It matters little whether the Minister of the day be Whig or Tory ; money he must have, and the prices of stocks must be kept. up. History and daily experience prove that, if " Governments," as Hums: said, " ultimately rest upon opinion," they immediately depend upon money ; and that there is no surer precursor of revolution than financial embarrassment. The government which can raise sup- plies on easy terms is safe, while indifferent credit is the symptom and the cause of approaching downfal.

Now we do not allege that the British Government is as yet re- duced to the condition of an extravagant borrower ; but the events of the last two years show that to such a condition it may arrive at no very distant period ; for, while the expenditure is increasing without any thir prospect of diminution, the means of paying taxes are annually curtailed by the high price of necessaries; and Its it is absolutely certain that short harvests will recur, we must be pre- pared for their inevitable concomitant, exportation of bullion for food, as long as the Corn-laws are upheld. Depreciation of the value of Govermnent securities, loans, fresh taxes, popular discon- tent—for all these calamities and losses the capitalists must be prepared. Sooner or later, a point must be reached at which popular patience will give way ; and then, what will happen first—confiscation of landed property, or " an equitable adjust- ment" ? It is usually said that the monied interest is sensitive and timorous : we have often thought it foolhardy. It trembles, no doubt, on a fall of one per cent. in Consols, but incurs the hazard of destruction by supporting a system which brings the country " within forty-eight hours of barter," and leaves the Bank of England with two millions to pay eight-and-twenty millions.

It may be thought that we push these conclusions too far. But let any person carry his thoughts forward a few years; calculate the increase of population—advancing at the rate of upwards of one thousand souls every day ; reflect upon the competition of fo- reigners in the production of articles now made in England ; on the financial difficulties which the next drain of bullion and the next after that may bring with it ; on the certainty that national bankruptcy—the robbery of the public creditor—will be preferred to any very large augmentation of taxes; and then, perhaps, it will appear, that though all classes are interested in obtaining not only a plentiful supply of the chief necessary of life, but obtaining markets for the products of British industry, none are more im- mediately concerned—none risk a larger stake in the perilous game now playing in this country—than the monied interests. We are in hopes that reflections similar to these are beginning to have weight in quarters where they have been hitherto disregarded; and if so, we shall probably see some fruits in the support given to the Metropolitan Anti-Corn-Law League. Much as the energy of the Provincialists is to be prized and praised, we should place far more reliance on a movement of the Metropolitan capitalists upon Downing Street, than on any other mode of influencing the Government.